The Book Thief Part 3-Part 4 The Way Home - The Accordionist Summary

As Liesel and her father walked home from the bonfire at the town square and she showed Papa the book she stole. Her Papa was not angry with her, but he made her promise to never steal a book again. He also exacted a promise from her to keep his secrets.

Hans a few days later visited the Nazi Party office in Molching, to purchase a copy of Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf. Hans had a plan and he had just completed the first part by obtaining the book.

Liesel knew the mayor's wife had seen her steal the book and was afraid to go to her house to collect the wash for Mama. Finally, Mama made her go to the mayor's house to collect the wash. The mayor's wife said nothing about the book and Liesel thought she had gotten away with her crime.

Then, one day a few weeks later, the mayor's wife invited Liesel into her home. Liesel thought she was in trouble, but instead the mayor's wife showed her the large library in her home. Liesel was awed by the sight of so many books.

In the town of Stuttgart, a Jewish man, named Max waited for days sitting on his suitcase, for someone to come and take him away. Finally, he was shaken awake and told a forged identity card was waiting inside a book for him; the book also contained a map, directions, and a key. He was also given a meager supply of food, by the man helping him. The man helping Max was Hans Hubermann.

It was summer and Liesel passed her time by playing soccer, reading her stolen book, reading books in the mayor's library and stealing apples. She enjoyed her time with the mayor's wife as she was allowed to look at more and more books. She discovered Frau Hermann had a son who had died in World War I.

She liked playing soccer, but her and Rudy had one thing which cemented their friendship; stealing apples. They found a group of boys, led by Arthur Berg, who stole from the local apple farmer and joined them, because they never seemed to have enough food to eat.

At the end of August, Rudy and Liesel found a coin in the dirt, which they promptly took to Frau Diller's candy store. Instead of being able to buy a mixed bag of candy, they could only purchase one piece of candy, which they took turns licking, and it made both of them extremely happy.

The story goes back to the Jewish man, Max Vandenburg, who is trying to leave Stuttgart. It was November 3rd and he had been given a train ticket by his friend Walter Kugler. Walter was leaving to join the army and Max was about to board a train leaving for Pasing. Max was frightened, but as he read from the book Hans gave him, he realized the title pertained to him also. The book was Mein Kampf which translated to "my struggle", which was how Max felt about his life and his attempt to leave Stuttgart.

The story returns to Rudy and Liesel as they continue on their life of crime. This time Rudy decided to rob Otto Sturm, who every Friday afternoon delivered food to the local priests. They managed to steal the food and shared it with Arthur Berg and the gang.

While stealing some potatoes, Rudy became entangled in a barbed wire fence, as an ax wielding farmer was bearing down on him, but Arthur saved him.

Rudy and Liesel sold some chestnuts Arthur gave them and spent the money on mixed candy at Frau Diller's store.

Max Vandenburg had reached the town of Molching. He was terrified and exhausted, but he forced himself to keep on walking to reach his destination of 33 Himmel Street, the home of Hans Hubermann. Max felt relief to reach the front door, but also trepidation. What if this was the wrong house or worse a trap? What would he do then? Also he felt guilty asking these people to risk their lives for him. He took the key to the front door out of his fist.

Inside the house Max asked Hans two questions: "Are you Hans Hubermann?" "Do you still play the accordion?" These two questions related to Hans' war-time experience.

He met a man named Erik Vandenburg, who was a German Jew, while serving in the German army. It was Erik who taught Hans how to play the accordion and who became Hans' best friend. It was also Erik who one day saved Hans' life.

The Sergeant needed a man who had good penmanship to stay back out of the fighting. Erik volunteered Hans, for little did either one of them know, that everyman who went into battle that day would die.

After the battle the army chose not to send back Erik's accordion, because it was too large to mail, instead they gave it to Hans. Hans, after the war, tried to return it to Erik's wife, but she did not want it. Instead, Hans told her if she or her son ever needed anything, to let him know. He didn't know that twenty years later Erik's son, Max, would take him up on that offer. Hans was first contacted by Max's friend, Walter Kugler, on June 16, 1939, a day which changed Hans' life forever. Hans was being watched by the local Nazi Party, because he joined late and did other things they did not approve of, but despite of that he still decided to help Max.

Liesel and Rudy learned to steal to receive the food they wanted. Hans began to help the son of war buddy, who was Jewish. Liesel and Hans in their own ways were learning to break the rules to help themselves and others.

Related Links:

The Book Thief The Way Home - The Accordionist Quiz
The Book Thief Part I A Good Girl - The Floating Book Summary
The Book Thief Part II The Gamblers - Floating Book Summary
The Book Thief Summary
The Book Thief Quotes
The Book Thief Important Characters
The Book Thief Quiz
Literature Summaries

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